Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on May 11th 2021
Author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in this novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart.
If Rika's life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale--being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts' business--she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn't quite fit the princess mold.
All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America's reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness--searching for clues that Grace is her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo's hidden treasures with cute actor Hank Chen, and maybe...finally finding a sense of belonging.
But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn't so kind. Rika knows she's setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don't happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?
I picked up From Little Tokyo, With Love on a whim. I wanted something light and fun and contemporary romance never lets me down.
Rika and Hank are the couple, a waitress and an actor. You immediately get Cinderella vibes with two cousins, and not one, but two aunties. Let’s also throw in some princess and royalty with the annual festival too for good measure and a guy who is on his way to becoming a prince of the big screen. I love Rika and Hank’s dynamic and chemistry. Their journey in getting to know each other and relying on each other is sweet and heartwarming.
I love Rika’s family. Even with a nosey auntie and two cousins who want to know everything, it feels like there’s a lot of love between them. Little Tokyo is a tight community and it shows. They show up for each other when it counts, despite the bad habit of not talking about the real things.
One of the themes in this book is being biracial. Hank is part of a big Asian group where a lot of ‘halfies’ hang out. He and Rika have both struggled with their identity of not being Chinese/Japanese enough and I can relate so much. Their conversation about this made me cry because I felt so seen. It’s not a topic I think all authors have to but I always appreciate it when I see it.
I give From Little Tokyo With Love five stars. It’s a lovely romance story with an interesting subplot if you love a little mystery. I definitely enjoyed this one and might do a reread at some point. I highly recommend this to everyone who loves YA contemporary romance.